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Q:

What's a good pair of inexpensive polarized sunglasses?

I am looking for polarized sunglasses that are highly rated and are not expensive. Any ideas?
-Jack
Carmel, CA

Picture of the Rockslides     Photo: Couertesy, Ryder

Picture of the Rockslides

Picture of the Rockslides

A:Hey, I was in Carmel-by-the-Sea just a few months ago! Beautiful town. I especially liked the valley inland from there—really nice. We had a great meal up in the valley one night.

Anyway, it was sunny and bright there. I could have used some polarized sunglasses, but just had clip-ons for my eyeglasses. Polarized lenses are great. They cut glare and bring a lot of clarity to the subject.

Fortunately I use prescription lenses only for driving. For hiking/climbing/biking I can use off-the-shelf sunglasses. This past spring, for instance, I spent four days hiking in a sunny Grand Canyon wearing a pair of polarized Ryders Rockslides. They were excellent. Comfortable, good color correction, distortion-free. And the polarized lenses made a big difference where the sun was bouncing back the light-colored soil. Best of all, they cost only $70, which is about as low as you can find for decent polarized sunglasses.

Another good pair of glasses at a fair price is the Tifosi Tyrant Polarized Sunglasses, which are $90. They have a little more finely wrought frames than the Ryders, and also are photochromic, which adjusts tint as needed. Or try the Bolle Formulas, at $100 even.

After that, prices climb. Oakley's Hijinx polarized sunglasses run $140. But they are very nice glasses, with handsome brown or black (matte or glossy) frames and either gray- or brown-tinted lenses that offer great clarity. The Revo Abyss glasses ($160) and Spy Cooper XLs ($145) are in similar range. Ray-Ban also offers a nice variety of glasses between $125 and $150.

Next floor...$200. For something such as the Serengeti Gio glasses ($219). They're lovely. Polarized, photochromatic, very handsome.

Hope that helps!

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